I’m also in love with people I’ve never met. This is probably going to be the cheesiest blog post I’ve, and maybe will, ever write. I was scrolling tumblr last night and came across a hashtag dedicated to National Internet Best Friend Day, which either happened in April or September, you know how self named holidays go, we have National Sibling and Dog Day at least three times a year. Anyway I’ve never heard of Internet BFF Day, which was a shame because I would have been on top of that faster than it takes for me to walk back inside my apartment door when it’s anywhere near 50 degrees and below. So this is a very late, post dedicated blog about my internet friend relationships, that go back to as far as my little hands could type on a keyboard, and how much I treasured them then, and now.
Is it possible to feel as close, if not sometimes, even closer to someone you’ve never met compared to a friend you’ve know in person? Every friendship is different, between every single individual, Sally won’t be the same friend to Brittany the way Sally is friends with Ashley. Two differentiating personalities mesh differently when paired, no two are ever the same. We can get pretty close though, that’s usually why we become friends in the first place, they bring out positive aspects of yourself that maybe other friends have before. We all have friends for different purposes, the ones you can binge watch movies and shows with, the ones you know will be up for a daytime adventure no questions asked, the ones you can depend on to study with, the ones you can have intellectual conversations with about similar interests, the ones you go out with, the ones that have been there since the beginning that can’t be replaced, the new ones from college who you can’t imagine how you’ve lived without them up until this point, the ones completely opposite of you but it somehow works, the ones so alike it’s sometimes bothersome, the one’s that are everything mentioned and more. It’s really interested to sit for a second and ask yourself why you’re friends with someone, you come up with a reason, or a dozen. But of course, for the sake of this blog post, I want to point out that these friendships come with a physical relationship. Even the long-distance ones, like my bestfriend since childhood, we’ve been long-distance since college, but I try and get to see her every few months.
Well, I want to talk about the friendships I have with people I have never met. About someone who I’ve known for almost eleven years, who even beats my best friend who I’ve known for ten, and another online companion for almost five. These two in particular are some of the most meaningful and treasured friendships I have ever had.
So I guess I should start with how I met my first and longest online companion, Darlene, from California. I was in fifth grade, and was just discovering everything I could do with a computer. I made a website through Matmice.com, for graphics for other people to use, and dedicated to some Sailor Moon tributes. Darlene left a message on my site to check her webpage out, and from then on, we just exchanged messages about it, advice on coding, layout, music, etc. We eventually upgraded to freewebs.com because we became little HTML experts, for our age okay, and declared ourselves “sister” sites. I advertised her website on mine, and vice versa. Well while I was ever so busy running a self proclaimed successful site, I was also designing, coding and roleplaying my pets on Neopets. Darlene and I eventually associated on there too, along with every other companion I made throughout middle school. I became friends with so many people on Neopets, two who I still have on facebook, and who I have to thank for inspiring my art phase.
I became a part of Deviantart, a website where you have an art profile, post artwork and receive feedback, join forums, favorite art, have a journal, etc. I was active on Deviantart until sophomore year of highschool, and I made some amazing friends on there from all around the world. These art friends of mine were really great to have around, they inspired me so much, and they shared more things in common with me than some of my friends in real life did. That’s not to say I preferred them or anything at all, but my friends when I was twelve years old did not stay up until 3 am working on a drawing and writing down stories about made-up characters the way I and my online companions did. Like I said, different friendships are for different reasons. I was able to express every angsty and heart strung emotion in my art throughout these five years, some things that I was too nervous to say outloud to my friends. For this reason, I never felt alone. What I couldn’t say to one person, I could confide in another, and vice versa. Sometimes however, it did feel like I was living two lives, but I was getting the best of both worlds. I was able to have fun with my friends and go to the movies to meet up with our crushes, but I was also able to come home and chat with my friends about our characters and roleplay with madeup stories.
Deviantart was the only place Darlene didn’t come with me on, we remained Neopets friends for the longest time. But, as many of you might remember, as any other pre-teen we would chat on AIM and MSN messenger like there was no tomorrow. It was so fun having someone to talk to that I could update on and make my life seem even more interesting than it probably was, just because someone didn’t know me in person. I would tell Darlene everything, she was my outlet from the real world. I could vent to her about anything, family, friends, myself, just as she did. We started to write letters towards the end of middle school to each other, and send birthday and Christmas gifts too. I gave Darlene a necklace once, and she wore it so much and it was in all of her myspace pictures I would literally squeal. Middle school wouldn’t, and couldn’t have, been the same without her. She knew everything about me, and I relied on her to be my escape when I needed it. Darlene was a grade under me, and I really did see her as another younger sister, and I think this is why I never wanted our friendship to cease. I cared so much for her well-being, wanted to inform her about everything I went through so she could learn and never make the same mistakes.
Darlene and I started Skyping in the beginning of high school, once we were probably old enough to be comfortable with it, and exchanged numbers at some point around here too. This girl still knew my life sometimes better and more elaborate than anyone else, I trusted her with things I couldn’t trust others with because they were too close to home, just like I remember her doing the same. We grew up together while not growing up together. Since fifth grade, she has seen me grow into the person I am today, just like I have her. No one else had the relationship she had with me when I was ten years old, and seen what I’ve become since then. She has always been the best listener, given the most unbiased advice, has had so much in common with me since the beginning, understood me like no one else had before, and gave me some of the best laughs. She’s easily the coolest, most eccentric and brilliant individual I’ve ever met. We were really inseparable via online communication until senior year of high school, but ever since college, we’re definitely both to blame for not having each other at as high priorities as we used to, but that’s only because our lives have gotten so immensely busy compared to before. Regardless, my childhood couldn’t have been what it was without her, and that’s where she is treasured the most. Darlene will forever remain my ultimate day one, she will undoubtedly remain a part of my life forever, once we have big-girl jobs we can hopefully travel and I can have my Cali adventure with her just like she can have her Texas one. Shoot, we should honestly just aim for going to Japan together, that would be the most memorable and appropriate way to meet, right?
My second irreplaceable online companion is Sam, from Virginia, who I met during the summer of 2011. This was right around the middle of my anime is the best thing since slice bread phase, which hasn’t changed. I started watching anime in fifth grade, something else Darlene and I had in common that not many of my friends in real life and I had. But, even Darlene poked fun at me for being far more Asian than she was because of how much more anime I would watch than she. Well, I joined an anime forum website in 2008, and made heap loads of friends from around the world. We’re talking joining a full on group of friends who I became really attached to. We would chat and talk and phone skype for hours, the only reason I wanted a smartphone when they came out was so I could talk on the forums when I wasn’t on the computer. Well, three years later on that site, I met Sam. I don’t even know where to begin with Sam, because I don’t think I have ever clicked with anyone else even in person as fast I did with him. We started exchanging comments back and forth for a bit, then added each other on skype to chat just like I did with my other friends. Even now, we can’t really comprehend or come to terms with what our fifteen year old selves thought was so interesting about the other, because we would chat for three-five hours at a time, maybe even longer I honestly can’t remember. Maybe it was our tastes, that were really similar, movies, music, anime, opinions. This was the summer where we would stay up until 3 am hating each other for keeping the other up. When I talked to Sam, it felt like I really did know him in real life, because it felt like I had known him for years. We would argue just as much as make each other laugh, and talk about everything and anything. I didn’t vent or gossip or share a lot of personal information to him as much as Darlene, because he was a boy, we talked about anime and our thoughts a little more.
Well, from sophomore year and on, Sam and I only got closer and closer. What’s interesting, is that in every friendship I have, I am usually the Yin to someone’s Yang. For the first time, I was someone’s Yang, and maybe that’s why it was so peculiar and interesting to me since the beginning. Sam and I were the complete opposite, but in such a different and distinctive way than anyone else I’ve met. Sam was also able to read me in a way no one else ever had before, point out things that even upset me at the time, but without his insights I don’t think I would have ever really discovered parts of myself without him. He understood me just as much as Darlene, and sometimes it felt like he got a side of me I didn’t even know about. I really can justifiably say I am one hundred percent comfortable, being myself in it’s entirety, to Sam in the same way I can be to my childhood best friend Laura and my sister, Karen. That is mind baffling to me, because how can I feel that way about someone I’ve never met? But, he’s the one I’ll call in the middle of the night if I need someone to talk to, or someone to annoy. Sam’s the most perceptive, intelligent, compelling and thought-provoking person I’ve ever met. He’s someone that gets me so easily before I even finish a sentence of thought sometimes. I owe this friend of mine a lot, he’s given me one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received in my life, cheered me up in the most thoughtful ways possible, and memories of laughing so hard at a computer screen that can’t really be described.
That’s probably why these two remained my friends the longest on top of everyone else I met in the virtual world, they brought out sides of me just like a friend in person would. They’re my escape from reality sometimes, more often than not. These two are people I am extremely jealous of anyone having the opportunity to know in person. If you know me, chances are, you’ve heard me talk about Darlene and Sam just as much as any other friend. Sometimes I forget that others don’t know them personally, and I’ll bring up something in relation to them that doesn’t really make much sense. These are people I’ve never met, who mean just as much to me as the friends I see every day. I’m in love with these two, just as I am with places I’ve never been to. I definitely day dream about what it would have been like had I been introduced to any of these two in person, but I also wonder if we would have the same relationship. I have gotten to know these two so intimately just based on their words and thoughts, without any physical relationship, which takes much longer to build when you meet someone in person. I think it’s because of this that when I do get to meet either of these two, I can confidently say the planets in our solar system will probably automatically align and make a little more sense.